After airman Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) blows into Saigon to be the morning man on armed forces radio, things are never the same. With a machine-gun delivery of irreverencies and a crazed gleam in his eye, Cronauer turns the staid military protocol on its ear.
On the air he’s a rush of energy, perfectly mimicking everyone from Gomer Pyle to Richard Nixon as well as the working grunt in the battlefields, blasting verboten rock’n’roll over the airwaves while doing James Brown splits in the studio. From the start, the film bowls you over with excitement and for those who can latch on, it’s a nonstop ride.
Although the film is set in Vietnam in 1965 the fighting seems to take a backseat to William’s joking. Instead of the disk jockey being the eyes and ears of the events around him Williams is a totally self-contained character, and despite numerous topical references, his comedy turns in on itself rather than opening on the scene outside.
Bruno Kirby as Cronauer’s uptight immediate superior has a few priceless comic moments of his own as he takes to the airwaves with an array of polka music.
1987: Nomination: Best Actor (Robin Williams)